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Kansas City Royals rookie Alec Marsh will aim for his first major league win when he takes the mound against the visiting Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday afternoon in the rubber game of a three-game series.

Marsh will be up against another first-year right-hander, Gavin Williams, whose only major league victory came against the Royals earlier this month.

The Guardians will be the first sub-.500 team Marsh (0-4, 6.20 ERA) has faced. He made his debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 30, then started against the Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees -- and he lost all four times.

Marsh's best shot at a win came on July 15, when he struck out 11 while allowing two runs and five hits over six innings against the Rays. He departed with the Royals trailing 2-1, and they eventually lost 6-1.

Marsh wasn't as effective in his most recent outing, giving up five runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 5-4 road loss to the Yankees on Friday.

"It's easy to crumble and fold here," Marsh said after the game.

Marsh has avoided that fate by focusing on the next inning, the next batter or the next pitch.

"That's always been my mentality," he said. "Get back in there, take a deep breath, refocus, step off and get the next guy."

Marsh had a 3-1 lead entering the bottom of the fourth in New York. He retired the first two batters before a walk and a single brought the go-ahead run to the plate, and journeyman Billy McKinney took him deep for a 4-3 lead.

"There were plenty of positives," Royals manager Matt Quatraro said of Marsh's outing. "We just have to figure out how to close those innings out."

Marsh understands what he needs to do to avoid the big innings.

"Moving forward, just getting back to work and making sure that those misses aren't so middle-middle and just making them a little better," he said.

Williams (1-2, 3.74 ERA) beat the Royals on July 8, but he is winless in his other five starts.

Williams allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings during the 10-6 win against Kansas City but pitched much better against the Royals on June 27 without getting a decision.

In his second major league start, Williams held Kansas City to one hit through seven innings with one walk and six strikeouts. He left with the game still scoreless before the Royals went on win 2-1.

Williams became the second pitcher in franchise history with a one-hit outing of seven innings or more within his first two appearances.

The right-hander made his debut on June 21, two years after being drafted in the first round by Cleveland out of East Carolina.

Bo Naylor likely will be behind the plate for Williams after blasting two home runs to help the Guardians earn a 5-1 win on Tuesday night.

He became the first Cleveland rookie catcher to hit two homers in a game since Jerry Willard on May 21, 1984.

"You've got to be ready for any moment that comes, and when that time comes, make sure you're doing the preparation behind the scenes to be ready for it," Naylor said.

--Field Level Media

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